The Best Coffee for Cold Brew: Our Top 8 Picks

Coffee is a year-round event, but when it’s hot outside, a cold cup of coffee would be nice for a refreshing jolt of energy.

Cold brew coffee is one way to get the benefits of coffee without the bitterness. The best part is, cold brew is straightforward to make at home.

To help you get started, we listed down the best coffee for cold brew. You can try the dark roast coffee for a smooth chocolatey experience or try the light roast options for citrus flavors.

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  • Dark Roast
  • Origin: Single Origin; Colombia
  • Comes in coarsely ground or whole bean bag varieties
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  • Dark Roast
  • Origin: Blend of Indonesian and South American coffee
  • Consistent quality
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  • Dark Roast, 100% Premium Arabica
  • Best for budget-conscious coffee lovers
  • Widely accessible
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  • Dark Roast
  • Coffee and Chicory Blend
  • Best when mixed with milk
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  • Dark Roast
  • Origin: Single Origin, Sumatra, Indonesia
  • Bold but not bitter
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  • Dark Roast
  • Blend of Arabica and Robusta Beans
  • Higher caffeine content than other beans
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  • Medium-Dark Roast, 100% Arabica
  • Origin: Blend of Ethiopian coffees from Worqa Chalbesa and Watadara, Ethiopia
  • Tastes great with a decadent dessert
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  • Medium Roast
  • Origin: Colombia
  • Decaffeinated
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The 8 Best Coffee for Cold Brew

Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve Colombian Supremo Coffee – Best Overall

Features

  • Dark Roast
  • Origin: Single Origin; Colombia
  • Comes in coarsely ground or whole bean bag varieties
  • Crafted for Cold Brewing

Flavor

This single-origin coffee promises a less acidic coffee for a cold brew that won’t have bitter or watery flavors—and we agree. These beans are slightly sweet, smooth, well-balanced, and a strong/bold coffee flavor.

As a Cold Brew

Because Stone Street Coffee made this blend specifically for cold brew, you are sure to maximize the flavors you can get from the beans without losing any flavors that the roaster intended.

The slight sweetness of the coffee will make you want to reach out for more.

Is Stone Street Coffee Right for You?

We love Stone Street Coffee because it makes brewing your cold brew very easy.

Stone Street Coffee’s Cold Brew Reserve is roasted and ground for cold brew. Because it is designed for cold brew, it doesn’t take a lot of effort or changing your cold brew recipes to get the perfect cup.

This might be the best coffee for cold brew options to go for if you don’t want to think about the perfect cold brew recipe.

Pros
  • Flavors crafted for cold brew
  • Offers a coarse grind size option
Cons
  • Not the most affordable option
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Kicking Horse Kickass Coffee Beans – Best Value

Features

  • Dark Roast
  • Origin: Blend of Indonesian and South American coffee

Flavor

These beans are rich and have flavors of dark chocolate, cacao nibs, brown sugar, and roasted hazelnuts.

We really like this coffee because its flavors are rich, and with a little bit of milk or cream, it really does taste like chocolate milk.

As a Cold Brew

While Kicking Horse isn’t designed for cold brew, it makes a delicious cup. The rich flavors of dark chocolate and roasted hazelnuts match perfectly with ice.

Is Kicking Horse For You?

Kicking Horse Kickass Coffee Beans really is kick-ass. Kicking Horse Coffee is beloved by coffee drinkers because it balances great taste and low acidity.

You might want to try this one if you’re experiencing stomach problems but still want a good tasting cup of joe.

Pros
  • Great for those suffering from hyperacidity
  • Consistent quality
  • Delicious flavor
  • Best price for quality per ounce
Cons
  • Occasional packaging problems
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Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend Whole Bean Coffee – Best Budget Pick

Features

  • Dark Roast, 100% Premium Arabica
  • Best for budget-conscious coffee lovers

Flavor

This coffee tastes like your typical American coffee: chocolate, with a bold flavor.

It may remind you of those times you drove by for a coffee with your donut, or when you wanted your coffee fix, and Dunkin’ Donuts was right next door. It’s familiar, inoffensive, and when done right, actually pretty good.

As a Cold Brew

If Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee tastes bad for you as a regular hot coffee, you’ll be surprised at how you can take it to the next level as coffee for cold brew.

Read:  8 Best Espresso Beans for the Ultimate Coffee Experience

While it sometimes tastes like bitter fast-food coffee when it’s hot, the chocolate flavors actually come out as a cold brew.

Is Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Right for You?

Don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it! Dunkin’ Donuts may have a reputation for serving average American coffee.

While it’s not specialty coffee, we recommend Dunkin Donuts coffee because it is affordable and easy to find anywhere. Most of all, it works really well as a cold brew!

Dunkin’ Donuts is the best coffee to try if you’re on a tight budget but still want a good-tasting cold brew coffee.

Pros
  • Great budget option
  • Widely accessible
Cons
  • Doesn’t have a complex flavor profile
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Café du Monde Coffee Chicory

Features

  • Dark Roast
  • Coffee and Chicory Blend
  • Best when mixed with milk

Flavor

This coffee features a full-bodied flavor with a hint of chocolate. With milk, it tastes like mocha. If you’ve ever had Vietnamese coffee, this one tastes similar. Café du Monde and Vietnamese coffee share the same secret ingredient: chicory root.

As a Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee made with Café du Monde beans will give your drink a unique twist because of the distinct taste of chicory root.

If you want a dessert and drink in one, add condensed milk instead of regular whole milk. It still has fewer calories than a regular frappuccino.

Is It Right for You?

Café du Monde is a New Orleans institution, with the cafe open since 1862. Café du Monde adds chicory root to reduce dark roasted coffee’s bitterness, giving these beans a smooth taste. Chicory root is also known to improve digestive health.

These are the best coffee beans for a cold brew milk drink.

Pros
  • Unique chicory taste
  • Versatile
  • Can be used for a lot of milk drinks
Cons
  • Only comes ground; freshness may be an issue
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Portland Coffee Roasters Dark Sumatra (Organic)

Features

  • Dark Roast
  • Origin: Single Origin, Sumatra, Indonesia

Flavor

These coffee beans taste uniquely savory with a smoky finish, without tasting burnt.

Take a journey through the coffee farms of Indonesia, prized for their rich and satisfying coffee beans. The subtle hints of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom are a welcome morning surprise.

As a Cold Brew

As a cold brew, these beans will taste like a classic coffee cup, but over ice. And because you are using it for a cold brew, your drink won’t taste like a diluted Americano.

Is Portland Dark Sumatra Right For You?

Sumatran coffee is known for its body and earthy flavors, and Portland Coffee Roasters’ Dark Sumatra is no exception.

This single-origin coffee is perfect for those who want that same hot coffee body in a cold cup.

With richer, darker-roasted beans like this one, the result might be too heavy. But as one Amazon reviewer says, it’s “not too acidic or oily like other brands.”

If you want a smooth, round, and bold flavor for your cold brew coffee without the bitterness, then this one might be for you.

Pros
  • Organic
  • Bold but not bitter
Cons
  • Not the most affordable option
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Death Wish Coffee

Features

  • Dark Roast
  • Blend of Arabica and Robusta Beans

Flavor

This coffee has a strong, bold flavor, with subtle notes of cherry and chocolate.

It tastes familiar, at first sip, then it shocks you with the buzz of caffeine, as an energy drink would. The best part? This doesn’t have the acidic taste of an energy drink.

As a Cold Brew

If you’re feeling low on energy at work and want a quick boost, Death Wish is the coffee for you. As a cold brew coffee, Death Wish is great as an alternative to ice-cold energy drinks.

Is Death Wish Coffee Right for You?

Death Wish Coffee claims that it is the “World’s Strongest Coffee.” This is because Death Wish includes Robusta beans in the blend.

While Robusta beans get a bad rap as “inferior” to Arabica due to its more bitter taste, the Robusta coffee bean contains twice as much caffeine as an Arabica bean.

And in case you’re worried about the Robusta beans ruining the flavors of your cup, several five-star reviews on Amazon say that “the taste is pure bliss.”

Death Wish is the best coffee for cold brew option if you want an extra energy boost throughout the day.

Pros
  • Higher caffeine content than other beans
  • Great alternative for energy drinks
Cons
  • The strong, sometimes bitter, taste of Robusta beans might turn some people off
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Counter Culture Coffee, Apollo

Features

  • Medium-Dark Roast, 100% Arabica
  • Origin: Blend of Ethiopian coffees from Worqa Chalbesa and Watadara, Ethiopia

Flavor

This coffee tastes like the kind you’d get from your neighborhood café. It boasts citrus and floral honey taste notes with a silky finish.

African coffees are known for their unique, subtle flavor characteristics, and Counter Culture Coffee is no exception.

As a Cold Brew

Counter Culture’s Apollo isn’t as bold as the other options on this list.

This coffee is for people who want a fresh spin on their cold brew. It doesn’t have the typical chocolate or nutty notes from other coffees, but it tastes refreshing.

Is Counter Culture Right for You?

Counter Culture’s Apollo is the perfect coffee to experiment with your cold brew process. While it doesn’t taste as intense as our other options on this list, it is perfect if you want to try something new.

This coffee tastes a lot like iced tea or orange juice, which makes it extra special.

If a lighter-bodied, milder taste sounds interesting to you, then we highly suggest this one.

Pros
  • Perfect coffee cold brew option for those looking for a change of pace
  • Tastes great with a decadent dessert
Cons
  • Not the best option for people who don’t like acidic coffee
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Koffee Kult – Colombian Decaf Coffee – SWP

Features

  • Medium Roast
  • Origin: Colombia
  • Decaffeinated

Flavor

This coffee has a good body and balanced acidity. It is rich, with a sweet, lingering finish.

As A Cold Brew

Koffee Kult Decaf tastes well-rounded and rich while also providing an extra brightness and zing to your cup. If you find that cold brews made with darker roasts are too heavy or rich for you, this cold brew might be a perfect palate cleanser.

Read:  12 Best Nespresso Pods - OriginalLine vs. VertuoLine: Which Suits You More?

The best part? You can drink your cold brew coffee at night.

Is Koffee Kult Right For You?

While most of us drink coffee for the caffeine, some of us enjoy the taste of cold brew coffee at any time of the day.

But you should be careful when choosing your decaf: some decaffeination processes use solvents like methylene chloride to dissolve the caffeine and remove it from the coffee.

A safer decaffeination method is through the Swiss Water Process, which uses only water and a carbon filter to remove caffeine from the green coffee beans.

Koffee Kult is our choice for decaf coffee for cold brew because it is full-bodied and tastes slightly sweet. It tastes just like a medium or dark roast coffee for cold brew, but without the caffeine. It uses the Swiss Water Process method, so you’re sure no decaffeinating solvent ends up in your cup.

If you like the taste of cold brew at night, Koffee Kult Colombian Decaf may be for you.

Pros
  • Perfect for drinking at any time of the day
  • Chemical-free decaffeination
Cons
  • More expensive than other options
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What to Consider When Buying Beans for Cold Brew

Roast Level

Coffee beans for cold brew usually come in a dark or medium roast. This is because the cold brew process tends to extract darker, richer flavors than brighter taste notes.

The cold brew method isn’t usually recommended for lighter roast coffee with subtle taste notes, like floral or citrus, because the acidic compounds in coffee aren’t extracted.

This isn’t always a bad thing: some people don’t like the taste of acidic coffee.

In the end, it falls on your preference. Some people want cold coffee to be less heavy and more refreshing.

We listed a wide selection of coffees with different roast levels for you so that you can take your pick with something either familiar or adventurous. Start your journey by choosing any one of them.

Origin

Coffee lovers believe that the best coffee beans are of a single origin. Single-origin beans have the advantage of being transparent and traceable. Essentially, single-origin means that the beans you buy and drink can be traced back to the farms that it came from.

Coffee “snobs” will often equate single-origin to higher quality, but coffee blends aren’t always bad. Blends can offer unique flavors that are better than what each individual bean origin offers.

The origin of a coffee bean affects its taste. When talking about the origin, the weather, temperature, soil, and elevation affect how the cherry (where the coffee bean is extracted) grows.

a hand holding a bunch of coffee cherries, best coffee for cold brew

If you’re looking for a specific taste for your coffee, here’s a coffee map that can guide you when choosing a good fit for you.

Flavor Profile

Brewing coffee cold extracts more chocolatey, nutty notes and tends to leave out more acidic or floral notes.

These subtle flavors get lost or muddled in the cold brew process, which is why we tend to recommend darker roasts with chocolate or bold taste notes. Beans with these notes make the best coffee for cold brewing.

Cold brewing is such a versatile method that you can experiment with your bean of choice and get different results.

While most people look for a bolder taste from cold brew, you can also explore citrus tastes, perfect for a hot day. Some beans, like the Counter Culture Apollo that we recommended, might even taste like iced tea.

Grind Size

We highly recommend that you buy whole bean bags and grind your coffee at home for cold brew coffee. The best characteristic about cold brew is it’s a very forgiving brewing process, so you don’t need an expensive burr grinder to get freshly ground beans for cold brew.

If grinding your own beans is inconvenient for you, we suggest that you buy beans with a coarse grind, like the grind size used for French Press.

If you can get the coffee ground even coarser, that’s even better. This grind will be easier to filter out and will give you a cleaner cup of coffee.

Benefits of Cold Brew Coffee

There are various reasons to drink your coffee cold. Brewed cold coffee doesn’t burn your tongue and offers a lot of the same antioxidant benefits as regular hot coffee.

Unlike hot brew, cold brewing offers several other benefits, especially if you have stomach problems.

Read our take on why cold brewing is a great alternative to hot coffee below.

Better for Your Stomach

Cold brew coffee is perfect for those who suffer stomach problems such as acid reflux but still need their fix.

Scientists studied the chemical composition of cold brew coffee versus hot brew and found that cold brew coffee has a higher pH than hot coffee. This means that cold brew has a lower acidity than its hot coffee counterparts.

Besides lower acidity, cold brew also helps your gut in other ways. Cold brewing extracts crude polysaccharides, or sugar molecules, decreasing gut irritation and countering the effects of coffee’s acidity.

For even better benefits for your stomach, you can choose beans with ingredients like chicory, like the Café du Monde Coffee Chicory. You can also choose specific coffee beans for cold brew made with this brewing method in mind.

Value for Money

Cold brewing doesn’t require expensive coffee beans to make a cup that tastes good.

In fact, cold brew is so budget-friendly that we even recommended Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee, which would taste less appealing from your typical drip machine. Cold brewing makes the worst coffee taste great.

Best Method to Get Started

While cold brewing is a budget-friendly method, it is also an excellent way to explore specialty coffee.

Read:  The 9 Best Coffee Beans For Jura Machines: Comprehensive Review

Specialty coffee is hard to get into because it’s expensive getting started. You would need a lot of equipment like a pour-over kettle, a coffee drip, a scale, and a server to get the most out of your coffee. And that’s on top of buying a bag of specialty coffee beans!

With cold brew, you just need a simple mason jar and a cheesecloth, and you can spend your hard-earned money on quality beans. Your coffee beans are the most critical factor in getting a quality cup of coffee.

Low Maintenance

Just set it and forget it. A cold coffee brew session can be as simple as leaving your coffee grounds in a jar or pitcher with water overnight and filtering them out the next day.

You can even get something like a cheesecloth or a nut milk bag to take the hassle out of filtering coffee the next day.

With cold brew, there’s no need to fiddle with drip coffee machines so early in the morning.

How to Make The Best Cold Brew Coffee

Steps

To brew coffee, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Grind beans for a cold brew and place it in your container of choice. A coarse grind is recommended.
  2. Add water to coffee.
  3. Steep your coffee for at least 12 hours to brew coffee.
  4. Strain the coffee.
  5. Pour the coffee into a cup with or without ice.

The steps are simple to follow, but it might help you to keep the following tips in mind.

Mind the Ratio

The ratio of coffee to water can fall anywhere from 1:4 to 1:16 by weight. Most cold brew recipes recommend making a concentrate of anywhere from 1:4 to 1:8, which will be mixed with water, milk, or ice before you drink it.

The ratio is up to your personal preference, though we recommend that you begin with a 1:6 coffee to water ratio.

You can adjust it to a 1:4 ratio for a more concentrated cup and towards 1:8 for a more diluted cup. If you want to drink your cold brew straight out of the fridge, you should opt for a 1:12 beans to water ratio.

Hot Bloom vs. Straight Cold Brewing

You can take one extra step to up your coffee cold brew game: start hot.

Some coffee snobs dislike cold brew because it reduces some of the more subtle taste notes of specialty coffee beans. If this sounds like you, we suggest the hot bloom method.

The hot bloom method preserves the subtle taste notes extracted in hot temperatures while still keeping the convenience and the typical taste profiles of cold brew.

The result is a brighter cup with a little extra brightness in their flavors. This is the best cold brew for those wanting a more unique and refreshing taste.

To take full advantage of more subtle taste notes, just start hot. You can begin by adding two times as much hot water as your coffee.

If you’re drinking cold brew to avoid stomach issues caused by regular coffee, then you’re better off starting cold. Brewing with cold water right away reduces the acidity of the final cup.

Filtering Methods

You can filter your coffee in any way you want, but the simplest that we’ve found is straining your coffee through a sieve.

If you started with a coarse grind, then a sieve should be enough to filter most of the coffee particles from your cup.

If you already have a French Press lying around, you can simply push the plunger down and pour your coffee over ice.

If you want an even cleaner cup, we recommend straining your cold brew through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. This removes the finer particles that made its way out of your typical sieve.

You can make an even cleaner cup by filtering your coffee through a paper filter, like the one you already have at home.

If you want a simple, hassle-free experience, you can also choose to buy cold brew systems to make your coffee. We recommend the Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot because it fits perfectly in your fridge. It makes up to 1 liter of cold brew coffee.

If you drink cold brew coffee everyday, though, it might be easier to brew once a week. We recommend the Toddy Cold Brew System for larger batch sizes, which baristas also use to make cold brew.

The Verdict

Best Overall: Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve Colombian Supremo Coffee

For us, the best coffee beans for cold brew are Stone Street Coffee beans. With this coffee, ground explicitly for cold brew, you wouldn’t have to worry about spending more money on a grinder. This coffee is truly a “set it and forget it” coffee.

With these beans for cold brew, you can just measure out the coffee, add water, and you can consistently get the best cold brew coffee every time.

Best Value: Kicking Horse Kickass Coffee Beans

What we love about Kicking Horse coffee is that it is uncomplicated and tastes great without much tweaking. What reviewers love about Kicking Horse coffees is that its roasts are very consistent.

Cold brew offers the benefit of reduced acidity. With the Kicking Horse Kickass Coffee Beans, you wouldn’t have to worry about an acidic cup of coffee.

Best Budget: Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend Whole Bean Coffee

Despite Dunkin’ Donuts beans having a bad reputation as a typical instant fast-food coffee, we think that it is still a great option for people on a budget.

What we like about these beans is you can brew coffee without worrying about how much it costs, and it tastes pretty good as a cold brew.

While it’s not the best coffee for cold brew available, it is the most accessible, and that’s a huge plus for us.

Conclusion

All you need is a good bag of beans, a jar, and a filter for the grounds to brew cold coffee. With our recommendations, you can get started and make the best cold brew coffee on your journey.

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